The arrival of water trucks in Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp are a welcome sight for families who survive on limited rations.
But the deliveries are simply not enough. And they are not a sustainable solution for a camp that is now the equivalent of the fifth largest city in Jordan.
As Time magazine reported today, the refugee crisis threatens to drain Jordan's groundwater supply, which has been dwindling over the course of a decade-long drought. Even worse, much of that water leaks from failing municipal systems in border towns like Mafraq and Ramthah, which are hosting the majority of refugees.
Mercy Corps is working to meet immediate needs and find lasting solutions to Jordan's water shortage. We have have dug two new wells to increase the water supply in Zaatari, and the goal is to eliminate the need for water trucks completely. We're also implementing a $20 million project to rehabilitate the municipal water system that will serve both refugees and Jordanians for the long-term.
As summer approaches and temperatures — and refugee numbers — rise, water will be key to getting through this crisis.